Thai ad featuring blackface early candidate for worst ad of 2016

The Thai company Seoul Secret has apologized for it’s latest ad which features a woman in blackface.

The ad was pulled off of YouTube on Friday. The ad depicts two women side by side, with the one on the right’s skin becoming darker and darker – which apparently indicated distressed and has the tagline “You just need to be white to win.” That’s pretty stupid.

As AdWeek notes, having a pale complexion is associated with a higher social status in Thailand, so it may seem like a bigger issue here than it is there, but this ad is straight up racist. It’s saying being white makes you better, and that having dark skin is some sort of ailment, which is baffling to put in an advertisement.

The spot seems like a bad first draft idea which somehow made it online and on TV. Seoul Secrets immediately apologized for the ad.

“We did not intend to create this issue,” Wattanapak Jinsirivanich, managing director of Yulihan Group told Reuters. “We would like to apologize and we will fix it.”

“Our message is to take good care of yourself and continue to do so.”

The company also released an apology on their Facebook page.

“Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages,” Seoul Secret wrote on Facebook. “What we intended to convey was that self-improvement in terms of personality, appearance, skills, and professionally is crucial.”

It doesn’t really matter what they intended to convey if the spot can be interpreted immediately as offensive. This is an early candidate for worst ad of 2016.


About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.